Spoiler Free Summary: After the Crash by Jason J. McCuiston is the fifth story in the Alien Days Anthology. Resnick was too busy looking at all the zeroes on his check from his client to pay any attention to who that client is or what that client is after. This historical fiction noir story checks all the boxes of its predecessors as Resnick strives to protect an alien artifact from falling into the wrong hands.
Character: Given how long it’s been since I read this particular story, it’s only natural for some information to fade. However, it took me a long minute and some reading to remember anything about this story. Now, there is a genre bias. Noir isn’t my bag, so that’s a factor. After taking some time to refamiliarize myself with the story, I could only vaguely recall some of the aspect. The good news is that while I read it, I found Resnick to be decent. He took action; he’s sympathetic, but he’s just not memorable. Again, if you like noir, you’ll love this and think I’m an idiot, and from your point of view, you’d be right. That’s still how I’d define this character and story. Not bad while reading, but not memorable at all.
Exposition: I know this had to be good because I don’t remember much about the story. How can I say this? If the exposition was clunky or wordy, I’d have lost it. I’d have remembered this story for the wrong reason. The fact that I don’t remember much about it at all speaks to how clan and efficient the writing was.
Worldbuilding: As a noir historical fiction (set, I’m assuming somewhere in the time of World War II (there are mentions of Nazis), I think it holds up, but the trouble with historical fiction is that fans of the genre are super motivated about time period preservation. For me, it was enough to know the time period, but those who know if zippers or snaps were invented yet or those who know what construction and city design were like in those periods might not agree. While I thought the worldbuilding was fine, you’d need a true fan of the genre to tell you if it worked.
Dialogue: Again, this checked all the boxes for the genre. It wasn’t wooden or dry, but neither was it interesting or snappy.
Description: Once more fans of the genre might feel differently, and I would defer to their opinion, but I got what I wanted out of the story. I had enough adjectives to activate my senses and move on.
Overall: It’s pretty harsh, but it was just plain hard for this story to hang in my memory. It didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t get angry while reading it for any reason. It was just OK. Fans of the genre will probably love this story. I didn’t though because that’s all it did (check the old school noir fiction boxes). That shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation of the story though because those stories aren’t ones I normally look for. So I’d prefer people see this as a positive in that I got a story I wouldn’t have normally looked for and read it all the way through and even enjoyed it while I read it. That, to me, is a compliment.
Thanks for reading